Photo: Courtesy of DraftKings
Recognizing the rapid expansion of sports betting in America, the Association of Racing Commissioners International on Wednesday announced the official launch of a subsidiary called the Sports Betting Regulators Association (SBRA).
The new organization will hold its first meeting on July 10 in Boston during the summer meeting of the National Council of Gambling State Legislators, said ARCI President and CEO Ed Martin, who made the statement. announcement during his closing remarks Wednesday at ARCI’s 88th Annual Safe Horse Conference. and Honest Sport Conference in Lexington, Ky.
Martin said the new body is a logical offshoot of ARCI, which is the umbrella organization of official professional horse and greyhound racing regulatory bodies. Martin said ARCI approved the development of a sports betting-centric entity shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May 2018. opened the floodgates to states to legalize sports betting in what has now grown to 33 states.
“Since that time, a number of our existing members have added responsibilities beyond horse racing,” Martin said. “In many states they have been transformed into a gaming commission or expanded into a gaming commission.”
SBRA’s policy-making process will mimic what ARCI has done in horse racing with its model rules, which have been widely adopted by states. Likewise, SBRA will bring together government regulatory entities, as well as relevant precincts, to develop consistent regulatory policies to ensure the integrity of sports betting and protect the public interest by ensuring that all betting and associated events are conducted fairly and honestly.
“We have already incorporated some draft standards into some of the model rules,” Martin said. “But we anticipate that we will emulate some of the transparency and independence (of horse racing regulation), possibly recommending licensing to officials. Some of the sports people are allowed to bet on, there is no transparency. There are concerns. States have a responsibility to ensure that anything they allow people to bet on is up.
“This is a new area, an area where horse racing regulators have considerable experience. The electorate we serve is the general public.
SBRA’s announcement came a day after investigative sports reporter Tim Livingston of the True Crime Podcast Whistleblower told the ARCI conference about his findings of corruption involving referees influencing match results, sometimes for provide best matches for television ratings; drug testing programs for players that sound good but aren’t designed to catch offenders; tennis players who lack sponsors and other funding are paid to tank the first set of a match and more.
“When you consider what Mr. Livingston presented, it’s a dropper,” Martin said. “It is always easy to criticize the regulator. But when you consider the work that is being done in horse racing and compare the need for transparency and openness in human sport to eliminate even the appearance of conflict, these are the types of issues that regulators will address in the room and what they will talk about. They will determine the direction in which they want to go.
Martin said the governance of ARCI will remain the same, with an elected SBRA president.
“It will function as a committee within ARCI,” he said. “But it will be self-contained. We’re going to invite all of the existing states that regulate sports betting, and hopefully they’ll come to the table.